Kid’s Travel Pillow

This easy to make kids travel pillow does double duty as a toy for entertainment and a neck pillow for when your child finally falls asleep on those long road trips.

Kids Travel Pillow|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

 

 

Kids Travel Pillow

It’s time for Week 2 of the So You Think Your Crafty Contest! If you missed last week’s project, click here!

This week’s theme is “Kids Can Do”.

How fun is that?

One of my favorite kids projects involves socks. They are so easy to make! Click To Tweet

I decided on a Kid’s Travel Pillow for this project, because it’s so hard to keep kids entertained while traveling in the car.

Kids Travel Pillow materials

To make the pillow you will need:

A pair of argyle soccer socks (any size, I chose a size large since my kids are older) You can order these green ones on this website.

Red and Pink craft felt

Poly-fiberfill stuffing

Wiggly Eyes in two colors

Craft Heat Bond, Craft Glue or Fabric Glue

Large needle and embroidery floss (to match your socks)

Small pieces of stick on velcro (optional)

heat bond

To make the mouth, cut two pieces of the red felt into ovals. Trace the red felt pieces onto the pink felt for the interior part of the mouth. Cut the pink felt, with the red being slightly smaller so you can see the two colors. Pink felt first, then the red on top will make an interesting mouth design.

Cut out two tongue pieces from the red felt. Cut the heat bond for each mouth piece, making it slightly smaller than the felt so it won’t show around the edges. Cut two small pieces for the very end of the tongue, the rest of the tongue will be free and wiggly. I love things that wiggle, don’t you?

ironing the mouth

Adhere the pieces together with Craft Heat Bond using a warm iron, or if your kids are too young to handle an iron, use craft glue or fabric glue. Be sure to iron both sides for maximum adhesion.

mouth placement

Attach to the bottom of the foot part of the sock with either method. I like how the sock has different colors at the toe and heal, it helps to define the mouth area.

iron the mouth

Again, iron both sides of the sock for maximum adhesion.

fold the sock for the mouth

eye placement

After the sock has cooled, put the sock on your hand like a puppet, to find the correct eye placement. Glue eyes in place with craft glue. If you have a very young child, draw them on with a fabric marker instead. I placed my eyes right above the black sock toe.

stuffed and pinned

Stuff your snake with the fiberfill stuffing. Check to be certain the snake will still form around the neck by pinning the two socks together and checking the fit and function. If it is too big, you can over lap the ends of the sock at the back of the neck until it is the right size, then re-pin in place.

sew the head

Use the needle and embroidery floss to slip stitch the sock ends together at the back of the neck. This helps hold the head in place so you can see his adorable wiggly eyes.

WIGGLY EYES = ADORABLE

sew the mouth

Using more embroidery floss, make a few stitches at the side of the mouth to hold his adorable mouth into position. Cut and trim threads.

This is a good opportunity to teach your kids to sew. Don’t be a perfectionist about this, let your child take a few stitches, the unpredictable nature of the needle and thread will only add to your snake’s character.

Kids Travel Pillow finished

Optional: Use two small pieces of stick on velcro (you may have to glue them on) to hold the snake heads together at the front of the neck, or you can let them hang loose for play.

snake pillow

Time to travel with your new Kids Pillow!!

If you would like to see the other projects in this week’s contest, check out the So You Think Your Crafty Blog.

 

Pin this post for later! 

Kids Travel Pillow|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

 

 

 

 

Blue Moon Ice Cream

Blue Moon Ice Cream

Did you see the Blue Moon this week? It’s the second time this month we have had a full moon, the second cycle is referred to as the “Blue Moon”.

The phrase “once in a blue moon” has brought on new meaning to me as I have gotten older. There are things that I just never have time to do that I enjoy, one of them is making fresh ice cream. Life is too short not to take time for simple little pleasures.

Blue Moon ice cream is a Wisconsin favorite, a best seller at our family’s restaurant. It has the suburb combination of watermelon, blueberry and raspberry that can’t be beat. You can make your own ice cream simply with a few plastic baggies and ice, it’s a fun project for kids and great entertainment for a hot day.

Ingredients:

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

1/4 of a large watermelon, Rhine removed, seeded and chopped into 1″ cubes

1/2 pint fresh raspberries (you can substitute 2 Tablespoons low sugar Raspberry jam if needed)

2 cups almond milk or whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups ice

1/2 cup table salt

2 large gallon sized zip lock baggies

2 sandwich size zip lock baggies

 

Directions:

Blend the fresh fruit and milk together in a blender until smooth. Add the sugar, blend again.

Pour the mix into two sandwich baggies, only filling them about 1/2 way. Close the bags, releasing as much air as possible. Divide the ice and salt into the two gallon sized bags. Close the top, shake the bag briefly to combine the ingredients. Open the bag, add the ice cream mix Baggie, close the top.

Here’s the fun part. Shake the bag all you can until the ice cream gets firm. It only takes about 10 minutes. This may require you to wear gloves or pot holders on your hands, as the salt lowers the freezing temperature of the ice and it becomes very cold. You can play catch with the bags out side until it hardens, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it inside the house.

We have had exploding bags in the past, trust me on this one, do it outside. Exploding bags of ice cream are not a pretty sight.

When the ice cream has to hardened, you can eat immediately ( it will be a soft set ice cream, similar to ice milk), or freeze until completely hard and serve later. Dispose of the bags, ice and salt afterwards.

 

Today is a beautiful hot sunny day, I will be spending my time on the porch nibbling on our Blue Moon Ice Cream and fanning myself with Granny’s vintage fan from Japan. Sounds like a great way to spend the day, doesn’t it?

Who knows, I may even take a nap on the porch! It is once in a blue moon after all.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

How to Keep Your Family Safe Online

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Keeping your family safe online is a huge topic of discussion and concern for people today. I hear every day of families who are distraught, trying to keep their children safe from the uncontrollable Internet. The statistics of children viewing porn and graphic content at younger and younger ages is staggering, even among Christian families. No one is safe from it. As a parent, I don’t want to see it either, it is annoying, frustrating and shocking. One wrong click of the mouse and your child’s innocence can be lost forever. How are we to keep this unwanted content out of our homes? There are a number of things you can do to keep the Internet in check.

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1) Set up parental parameters: Devices your children use such as the Wii, XBox, Nook, the Kindle and hand held game systems have improved internet safety software to keep children from viewing inappropriate content. Set up a parental login and get started.  Check regularly to see what your children are viewing and downloading online on each system. If you don’t know how to set up your device, call technical support and have them help you set it up over the phone.

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2) Set Up Cell Phone Blocking. Did you know you can pay a few extra dollars per month to your cell phone provider to block inappropriate content on all the phones on your plan? We use AT &T, they only charge $4.99 per month for this service.  Click here to find out more information. You can set up time usage limits, text limits, and even block specific numbers. This is money well spent for a bit of peace of mind. Blocking cannot stop all phone to phone content transfer, however. Be aware that if your child gets an email or text from an approved number that is inappropriate, there is no way for you block it. Hopefully, this will change in the future and parents will have even more control over their children viewing content.

3) Set definite boundaries with your children. Do not allow them to have private passwords, you need to be able to check their electronic devices, email and social media accounts for appropriate content. Make it a house rule, all passwords for electronic devices and emails are shared in the home.

4) Keep your computer in an open space. Do not allow your children to have online access behind closed doors. There is no reason they need privacy, they are children. Our children do online classes at home but they understand the doors are to remain open. If this is an issue in your home, try installing some glass doors instead or move your computer to an open area without doors.

5) Set your browser to remember passwords and record website history. Look under the System Preferences icon to on your computer to change this function. Check the browser history frequently to be sure everything is on the up and up.

6) Call your internet service provider and see what parental controls they offer. They may have some tools available that you weren’t aware of. If you bundle your services and have cable TV with them as well, have them help you set up controls on your television for cable.  We use Charter Communications and they have an excellent tutorial on setting up your TV blocking here. Many TVs are set up for Internet streaming, you want to have controls in place for that too, here another link for Charter that may be helpful.

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7) Install a content filtering router. You can purchase a special router to filter unwanted Internet content right at the source where it enters your home. With a router like this, no one in the household will be able to view unwanted content whether they connect to the router directly or wirelessly. A filtering router can work with your current Internet provider and is programmable so you can block unwanted websites and specific content. Generally these routers are rather expensive, but they are available. I recently won a router like this, and I can’t wait get started using it. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

8) Limit your child’s Internet access by age. Young children should have little or no reason to use the Internet, especially when they are unsupervised. Our doctor recommended no more than 20 minutes of screen time per sitting, not more than 2 hours daily for our kids.

These are some pointers, but the best way to keep your kids safe is by being an involved parent. Know who your kids are friends with and what their family rules and values are. Establish your own family rules and stick to them. You may need to step in and make some difficult choices, but your kids will thank you in the long run.

Are you wondering what all this silly artistic censorship is about? These silly art pictures won me the grand prize of a complete content filtering router system! I don’t have the system yet, but I will have more to share soon, including how you can get one for your family!

Stay tuned!

Joining the Link Up!

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Global Discovery Vacations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sunset on the beach

 

Returning from vacation can be stressful. Re-entry into the regular routine slow for me.

I keep dreaming of the beautiful beach we saw in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It was our first trip there, it definitely won’t be our last.

We stayed at the Plantation Resort, part of Global Discovery Vacations. I call it a travel club. The way it works is you pay a one time fee up front to join, then a small yearly fee.

We get two weeks a year at any resort they are affiliated with, anywhere in the world for $189.00 per week for a one bedroom suite with kitchen, living room, laundry, etc.

You can upgrade to a 2 or 3 bedroom if you choose, but different rates do apply.

It has been well worth it to us.

We have taken several vacations in the last two years and they have been great.

The facilities are clean, quiet, attractive and very serviceable.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the inside of them, my mind is always on the view.

pool view

I actually felt sorry for the folks back home in the subzero temperatures. It wasn’t that warm while we were in the Gulf area, but even a cold day at the beach is warmer than a subzero day back home.

Eye candy for the soul.

The resort had several pools both indoors and out. We pretty much had the entire place to ourselves.

There were a few other midwesterner’s around during the off season, but not many.

The off season is Jan-Feb. Peak season begins in March and runs through December.

balcony view

We found out that our room with this stellar view rents for more than $300.oo per night during peak times.

Wow!

star fish

While we were strolling on the beach, we found lots of these little star fishes had washed up on shore during the night. Isn’t it just adorable?

driftwood

The pieces of driftwood on the shore were in all shapes and sizes. This log was huge, I would have loved to haul it home and put it in the garden.

The white sand almost looks like snow doesn’t it?

Beautiful.

broken shells

Because of the cold temps and rough seas, there were lots of shells on the beach. Many of them were broken, but that doesn’t deter me.

I see great beauty in brokenness.

ferris wheel

On one of the colder days, we amused ourselves at the local shopping mall. The Wharf is a great spot with lots of unique shops and restaurants.

driftwood pelican

This adorable coffee shop specializes in beach art and coffee.

It has become my most favorite place in the entire world.

This pelican was made out of driftwood. If I could have figured out how to cram it into my suitcase, I would have brought it home with me.

It is masterpiece in my book.

brick wall

Another day we visited Fort Morgan, a civil war era fort on the Bay of Mobile.

I love historic spots like this.

The fort is built into the ground at the tip of the bay, making it is almost invisible from the sea. There is another fort across the bay on the other side. Next trip, we will explore that one as well.

This was the site of a number of important sea battles during the civil war. They also have an interesting museum and gift shop.

I love how the inside wall is aged and mossy.

fortress

Other parts of the fort are just as interesting. The salty sea air makes a layer of white crust on the aging bricks.

Can you imagine this place filled with soldiers and cannons?

old house

This beautiful house sits at the end of fort. It was once the command center for the entire place.

I love the big porch and the unique windows.

training plane

 

Since the weather was so cool, we didn’t really spend a lot of time on the beach. We really enjoyed our day trip to Pensacola, FL which was about 30 minutes away.

We spent the entire day the National Naval Aviation Museum.

We love air planes, and have a long history with pilots in our family.

 

blue angels

We took in a couple of flight simulations, and even an IMAX movie about the Blue Angels while we were there. They are so impressive to see up close.

uss enterprise2

My favorite plane had to be the USS Enterprise.

I knew the Enterprise existed, I knew it!

uss enterprise

Even the propeller was massive.

the hot shop

Nearby Orange Beach is the home of this glass blowing workshop called The Hot Spot.

You can watch them make glass, or even take a class and try it yourself.

Very impressive.

Glass flowers

Aren’t these glass flowers just beautiful?

st. louis arch

The trip home was long and snowy, we stopped briefly at the St. Louis Arch on the way.

That blob on the photo is the sun showing through the clouds just before it snowed.

It snowed a lot.

the arch

The Arch is very impressive up close. If you are brave and not claustrophobic, you can go up in the elevator to the top.

I was not so brave.

old court house

Across the park sits the Old Courthouse. I was surprised how similar it is to the court house we have here at home.

So much to discover!

I hope you have enjoyed the tour.

Are you planning a spring vacation?

Where to?

 

Crater of Diamonds State Park

 

Crater of Diamonds

 

We are back from our early spring vacation. It’s always hard to get back into the swing of things after a restful time away. I find it takes me at least two or three days for each week we are away, to be able to re-focus and figure out what direction we need to take for to go forward. I need time to catch up on mail, laundry, shopping, and the ever growing email accounts and social media obligations. Time away is necessary, I find, to re-evaluate where you are and which direction you should be going next. I have never failed to come home with a new vision and a clear perspective.

There were many years where we didn’t take any vacations as a family, but as our children begin to leave home, we have decided to make family trips a priority. We now make an effort to take at least two trips a year together.

The last couple of years, we have concentrated on exploring the beach areas, as I am addicted to warm sands and southern sunshine. This trip was no different, but I will tell you about the beach in my next post.

We began our journey by driving south and making a small detour through Arkansas to the Crater of Diamonds State Park. We have never been there before, but it was well worth the trip.

Arkansas is a beautiful state.

We first read about this park as part of our home schooling journey, in a monthly children’s publication called Which Way USA. It is a monthly Geography Book Club by Highlights Magazine. The kids get a different state map and puzzles each month with interesting information and attractions to help them learn about the states and their geography. All our kids loved them, and couldn’t wait for the next one to come in the mail.

One of the attractions listed in the Arkansas book was Crater of Diamonds State Park. Our kids have never forgotten it (this was years ago), and they have always wanted to go there.

Even with our son being in high school we had a great time, it’s a fun place for all ages.

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When you get to the park, you purchase a ticket to dig in the diamond field. Some of the biggest diamond discoveries imaginable have happened here, including some incredibly huge, famous diamonds and sapphires. You can read more about them here.

We purchased some yellow rubber booties to wear over our shoes, and rubber gloves to wear as it was a very muddy day.

Aren’t they just so darn cute?

We chose to just walk around the diamond field and pick up our rocks rather than dig for them, you have both options available. The largest stones have been found just by walking around the park, so that’s what we decided to do.

Yes, you really can just walk around and pick up diamonds.

Who knew?

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The field doesn’t really look very remarkable at all. There are rocks strewn about, in all colors shapes and sizes. They have sample rocks on display to show you what to look for when you search for your stones.

It is a bit of a challenge trying to find the right one.

We found some of the rocks looked suspiciously like rocks we have here in Wisconsin, but it was still fun to search. My husband was skeptical and thought that they perhaps trucked rocks in from other areas of the country just to make things look good.

I think he was jealous cause my rocks were bigger than his.

Just saying.

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You never know, there could be a diamond in there someplace.

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The locations of the most famous diamond finds are marked with these black shovels. I spent my time circling around these areas.

I don’t think I found anything but obsidian, quartz and shale.

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There are covered tables where you can sort your rocks. I picked through my bag and chose the most colorful examples.

It’s just my nature.

They may be worthless, but they sure are pretty.

The park has gemologists on site to identify your finds if you should find a valuable candidate.

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You can even wash your rocks with a sieve in these long troths. It was very cold the day we were there, and the water had ice on it.

No rock washing for us this time around.

I will take the dirt home, thank you.

It was a lots of fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone even though we came home without a famous rock. Hands on experiences like this are how we have taught our children many things, including the science of geology.

Learning about rocks is so much more fun when you are out in the dirt looking for them instead of staring at them in a boring text book. Don’t you agree?

The park also has a museum and a great gift shop where you can buy pretty shiny rocks and other gifts to take home even if you don’t find the rock of your dreams.

There is camping available and I am sure the park is lovely in the summer months. Perhaps we will come back and try again someday.

Check it out if you happen to be driving through Arkansas!